European distributors of Roman Polanski’s An Officer And A Spy are standing by their release plans despite protests in Paris and a fresh rape allegation against the director.
As previously reported, Gaumont is pushing ahead with a 550-screen release in France from today despite an accusation by photographer Valentine Monnier that Polanski raped her in 1975 when she was 18-years-old. Polanski has denied the allegation via his lawyer who says they plan to take legal action against Le Parisien newspaper, which printed Monnier’s story.
Other distributors have now confirmed to Screen that they will not divert from their release plans for the historical drama, which centres on French-Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus who was falsely accused of being a spy in the late 19th century.
Midas Filmes is set to release the historical drama in Portugal toward the end of January and managing director Pedro Borges said the Lisbon-based distributor was “conscious of the controversy”. He added that the company had considered the implications of releasing a film by Polanski when it acquired An Officer And A Spy at Cannes.
“It is a masterpiece and one that recreates a moment in history that couldn’t be more pertinent in the present day,” said Borges. “We hope people will watch the film regardless of what they may think about those allegations.”
These sentiments were echoed by Jakub Duszynski, artistic director of Warsaw-based Gutek Film, which will release the film in Poland on December 27.
“Our release date is set and we are not considering any changes,” he stated. “While considering this project, we were only discussing the Dreyfus Affair and its relevance for Polish society, Robert Harris’s bestselling book and the remarkable screenplay.”
Duszynski highlighted how the film had won the Grand Jury Prize in Venice, following its controversial selection to premiere in competition at the festival, and is considered one of the frontrunners at the upcoming European Film Awards.